Reading on my iPod Touch

My wife bought me an iPod Touch for Christmas last year, and I love it. We've subscribed to a bunch of podcasts, which we watch to keep up with the news and such. And the kids enjoy playing games while waiting for our food at a restaurant. Recently I found a new use for it.

As you may have seen, Amazon recently released the Kindle 2. At $359, well, I'm totally not interested. Do you know how many real books I could buy for $359? But I already own the Touch, so I set out to see what book readers are available, and I came across Stanza. It lets me search for and download e-books, whether paid or free. So I downloaded an old friend of mine, Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" and began to read.

What did I like? It was easy to find and download the book. The software is easy enough to configure. For example, it let me enlarge the font size to accommodate my old eyes. It works equally well in landscape or portrait mode. It's certainly a small form factor, easy enough to slip into my pants pocket when I go to work. It's backlit, so I can read at night without turning a light on.

What did I not like? There's just not enough screen space; I'm clicking "next page" every 5 seconds. It's an electronic device; I have to be more careful with it than I would with a paperback.

Verdict? I dunno. I will probably read some other books (translate: other *free* books). But I'm unlikely to do it a lot, and equally unlikely to spend money buying an e-book. I wouldn't buy an iPod Touch just for this reason, but since I already own it, it is certain be handy to have around while waiting in line somewhere or on an airplane ride.

Today, I saw rain

Now, I realize that rain sounds like another much-ado-about-nuttin kinda post, but trust me, it's a big deal here. Normally the rainy season ends in December and doesn't restart till June or so, so this is a highly unusual event and the first rain we've seen since leaving the States. Plus, hopefully, it will cut back on the smoke pollution, which has been way over unhealthy levels of late, which should be a really good thing for my son's allergies.

Children 2; Geckos 0

Did you know that you can wear out a gecko? Seriously, it's possible to chase a gecko so much that it gets completely worn out and hardly moves any more. How do I know? Well, I have children who have turned gecko-chasing into a sport.

We have more ants in the living room. Despite an (un)healthy dose of Terro (thanks, Tom!), they have persisted over the weekend. Last night Ann heard a gecko squawking from the general vicinity of the ants (um, yes, geckos around here make noises that sound rather bird-like to me; I suspect they are taunting us), so off we went to find it. Sure enough we found it, and the kids chased it around until it finally ran out of steam. We picked him up and put him back by the ants.

I feel like a king!

What, exactly, does it take to make me feel like a king?  Not much, actually.  During lunch today I found my way to the local market, purchased a vegatables-and-rice dish to eat (my fav dish so far), some bananas, and a bouquet of flowers for Ann, and returned back to the office without running into or over or through a single moped.  All that with nary a Thai friend in sight to rescue me should I flounder.  That, gentle reader, makes me feel like a king!

Children 1; Geckos 0

As long-time readers of this blog know, our house is shared with geckos. The general feeling of those who live around us is that this is a good thing, as geckos eat ants and mosquitoes and such. Earlier this evening, Jacen started yelling about a gecko, and sure enough he found one in the bathroom. With a bit of work, he trapped it. And my ever-fearless daughter promptly picked it up. It seems that once a gecko is cornered, he goes into possum-mode, making it easy to pick up.

090312 Gecko

Yellow Watermelon

Fruit smoothies have been in full swing in the Garriss household of late.  My favorite ingredients so far:  bananas and pineapples (which go surprisingly well together).  But the most interesting ingredient has got to be yellow watermelon.  I went to a Thai market last week with a couple friends, who told me watermelon was currently in season (along with strawberries and pineapples).  I expressed interest in the watermelons and was informed I could have red or yellow.  They look about the same, more or less, on the outside; very watermelonish.  So I decided to get a yellow one, just for grins.  And it was certainly bright yellow on the inside.  But it really didn't taste all that different from a red one.  So into the smoothie it goes!  Mmmmm.

Have you had yellow watermelon?  Have you had any other oddly colored fruit?

Woman with machete on the ground

Once they got the trees chopped down, those on the ground swarmed over the tree branches and chopped them into smaller pieces with more machetes. Even one of the wives got into the machete action. In no time the branches were bite-sized and into the back of the nearby pickup, ready for hauling away.

090307 Chop down trees

Man with machete up a tree

I came out of my house this afternoon intent on finding my son and making sure he was alright. I got sidetracked. You see, there were these two couples who were busy pruning back the better part of two trees for our neighbor across the street. The trees were up into the power lines, so it was their task to prune them down to about 6 feet and haul off the mess.

To my amazement these guys climbed up into the tree in bare feet and whacked away at the tree with their machetes! What was even more amazing was that one guy was right in the midst of the power lines, moving them back and forth to keep from whacking them (and presumably frying himself).

090307 Chop down trees

What? You're worried about Jacen? Well, while I was busy watching and photographing, he came home on his own. :-)

Mmmm, fruit smoothies

Thailand is a tropical place, so one fruit or another is in season all year round.  Ann recently purchased a blender to take advantage of this, and now she's making fruit smoothies for us!  Banana strawberry and banana pineapple are my favorites.  Mmmm!

More than a gas station

We went to our usual gas station this afternoon, but no one would help.  In Thailand, gas stations are still full service.  Typically the attendants are johnny-on-the-spot, and we get great service.  But for whatever reason, not today; lots of attendants looked at us, but none helped.  We waited and waited and finally tentatively beeped the horn.  Well, that got their attention.  Someone came over and offered an explanation of why they couldn't help.  Of course it was in Thai, so I don't know what he said.  In any case, it was obvious no help was coming, so we simply left.

After dinner tonight we tried a different station.  Talk about service!  They directed us to the right spot--only certain pumps have diesel.  They politely informed us that for an extra 100 baht, I could get a free T-shirt,which we did.  (Thai sizes being what they are, well, at least Jacen can wear it.)   And they even gave us a free Thai lesson, correcting my pronunciation of the word for "hundred" (it's more like "loy" than "roy").

Yeah, we'll be going back.